It’s hardly news that any media site relishes reporting to NHL fans but, well, here we go: The National Hockey League looks to be heading in the direction of putting ads on their team jerseys. It is arguably dismissive of the fans who bankroll the league but reports are that that is the direction the NHL will go when they make a change in two years.
For the 2017-18 season the league will be switching from having their club’s jerseys made by Reebok to Adidas; Reebok is actually a sports brand that is owned by none other than Adidas, so it’s not such a big switch. Adidas beat out Under Armour and Bauer Hockey for the contract and will pay along the lines of $70 milllion for the rights to the jerseys.
TSN reports that it is “unclear whether the NHL will receive a cut of revenue from jersey sales or if it’s a straight rights-fee arrangement.” But, alas, TSN also notes that the change may bring on an even bigger switch that will include the Adidas’ brand on jersey and the inclusion of ads.
“If you’re already deciding on a major NHL jersey overhaul, maybe with Adidas striping on the jerseys” an NHL source told TSN. “Then it seems like it would be a good time to introduce the ads, if you plan to do it anyway.”
It may not seem a good time to fans of the NHL. Indeed never might seem a better time to fans. But the almighty dollar is naturally at the forefront of the reason to put ads on the front (and arms and back?). The revenue increase the NHL could see from jersey ads? Somewhere around $4 million per team per season, which ads up to $120 million overall.
While NHL fans adjusted to ads on rink boards, which came along in 1980, most will surely be loathe for the league to copy European hockey and soccer, and other leagues in the world, by adding jersey ads. But that fact, however, won’t get in the way of progress in the form of profit.